Peter Woolley was born in Derby in 1960. He was educated at Spondon Comprehensive School, where he received Art tuition from the late Wilfred Ball. Leaving school at 16, he worked for 6 years at Rolls Royce in Derby as an Assistant Buyer. He left the company in 1982 to more fully pursue his interests in music and painting.
A bad experience with a gallery reinforced his desire to have as complete control over the sales of his work as possible, resulting in his first one-man exhibition at the Guildhall in Derby in February 1983. After early experimentation with subject and medium, he settled for the pure watercolour style he now employs. He began painting full-time in December 1986.
In June 1991, Peter presented his Pennine Way Exhibition, a collection of 50 finished paintings and a portfolio of working sketches depicting Britain's first official Long Distance footpath. He repeated his success with the Coast to Coast, Three Peaks and West Highland Way Exhibitions, and all his subsequent work has been directly related to his extensive travel and walking experiences.
Peter Woolley's original work can be found in private collections throughout the world, and many paintings have been published as Limited Edition prints and Art cards.
Always seeking ways to pass on his skills to others, Peter began teaching regular evening classes in and around Derby for many years. He soon extended his teaching activities to include weekend workshops, mostly in locations around the North of England, but also in Devon. While those workshops have been on hold since Covid-19, He continues to demonstrate, and run workshops for, art groups and societies across the country. He also works as a regular tutor for Alpha Painting Holidays, and runs a successful Online Tuition Service.
Originally conceived as supplement to his classes and workshops, Peter wrote and compiled an interactive CD-Rom, Peter Woolley's Watercolour Studio 4, which is still available to order. This has largely been superseded by his online service, which continues to grow in both content and numbers of subscribers. March 2005 saw the launch of his first book, published by David & Charles, entitled Drawing Towards Watercolour, and Hills and Mountains in Watercolour (What To Paint) was published by Search Press in February 2015. He is also a major contributor to The Watercolour Sourcebook, also published by Search Press in 2022. An extensive range of videos featuring Peter Woolley, produced by the SAA (with whom he is registered as a Professional Associate member) and Pyjama Video are also available on DVD and Video on Demand.
He has appeared on TV, on The Painting and Drawing Channel (Sky TV), and Woolley’s Watercolours (British Pathe/Amazon Prime), and has been running watercolour workshops on cruise ships since 2006. Primarily, these have been for CMV, Saga, Fred Olsen, Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery cruise lines. More information about his cruise ship work can be found here.